A good night’s sleep in a nice Albergue in Molinaseca. Forrest had arrived late in the day so was only able to get a top bunk above another American guy. Now Forrest is a very big guy and when it came to him climbing the ladder to get into his bunk he very nearly pulled the whole bunk over onto its’ side. Roy , who was just going off to sleep , got a big fright and shouted out ” Jeez , I thought the whole thing was coming down ! ” , causing hilarity in the whole dormitory.
We walked about 6km into Ponferrada where we had the first pitstop of the day. We were all tempted by the ” Hot Chocolate and Churros ” advertised and so we had a collective sugar rush to set us up for the next stage. Before leaving the town I had a tour around El Castillo de Ponferrada , a well preserved Templar castle ( see photos ). Inside was a library displaying some 15th C books on subjects such as the history of the Crusades. There was also a copy of the original document ,written by Pope Clement , which decreed that all Templar property be confiscated and that the Knights be outlawed. This was copied from the original document held in the Vatican archives.
The weather turned fine and sunny again in the afternoon so off came the fleece. We entered an area named the Bierzo which has its’ own micro-climate and I noticed the reappearance of vines. The Camino took us through very pleasant quiet lanes and tracks all afternoon. Lou , Jack and two young German lads ( both named Felix ) and I have been intermittently walking together and staying in the same places over the last few days. I was lagging behind a bit today to protect my leg but I came across them all again in a shady glade where Jack was playing his Ukulele and singing a Neil Young song. Some others joined us and we spent an idyllic half hour or so here chatting and laughing. I took a few photos here including one of the two German lads ( a.k.a ” The Felixes ” , ” The Felices ” , ” Double Felix ” ). Lou has been acting as surrogate Mother to them. It was here we also met a 13 year old German lad who has behavioural problems and has spent over 3 months walking with a carer after starting at Le Puy. He is in care , having had a drug addict Mother, and the walk is part of his therapy , paid for by the German Health Service. He was clearly a very bright lad and had learned English during the course of his Camino .His carer said his behaviour was much , much better since the start of his walk. This seems to be a recurring theme , The Camino as ” therapy “. It certainly seems to be working for most I meet.
We pulled into a small Albergue in Pieros around 6.00pm. It was another vegetarian place and I spotted a statue of the Bhudda in the corner. Thankfully there was no compulsory Yoga this time. After Dinner Jack and one of the Hospiteros ( who also played the Ukulele ) entertained us and we all trooped off to bed at the unusually late time of 11.00pm.